Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett: 85 per cent fit James Bolton ready for QPR consideration

James Bolton stands ‘85 per cent fit’ following his ankle injury.

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 8:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 12:47 am
James Bolton is inching closer to Pompey's first-team following injury problems since his summer arrival. Picture: Simon Davies/ProSportsImages

Yet Kenny Jackett insists his summer recruit from Shrewsbury is ready for Loftus Road duty.

Pompey’s boss will shuffle his starting XI for Wednesday evening’s trip to QPR in the Carabao Cup.

An option is to grant Bolton a maiden start, as the right-back edges towards full fitness following groin and ankle injuries since his Fratton Park arrival.

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Ross McCrorie deputised against Coventry, yet Pompey’s boss is keen to see the Rangers loanee in his favoured centre-midfield role.

Meanwhile, Anton Walkes has dropped out of favour completely, omitted from the 18-man squad in that 3-3 draw.

That puts Bolton in the frame – although Jackett believes the fit-again 25-year-old is not quite there himself.

He said: ‘James is struggling with an ankle injury, which is really frustrating.

'It hasn't been something he has yet got over, he’s around about 85 per cent fit and training all the time, but is just feeling it.

‘He’s a very honest lad and I don’t want to start him off when not quite right, so I’ve just held him back.

‘But, similarly, I don’t think it’s much, it’s something James needs to get over.

‘Towards the end of training sessions the ankle is aching and he feels very flat footed, so hasn’t quite got there and made an overdue debut.

‘James is ready for Wednesday, however.’

QPR, under new boss Mark Warburton, have taken seven points from their opening five Championship matches this term.

And last weekend they defeated Wigan 3-1, with former Pompey players Jamal Lowe and Kal Naismith featuring for Paul Cook’s team.

Jackett added: ‘It’s a big week for us, Blackpool on Saturday is a big game for us, and also the players are fresh.

‘We’ve got Jack Whatmough, Bryn Morris, Oli Hawkins and Ryan Williams not available, but everybody else is and we’ll see if we can get them some game time.

‘After the Shrewsbury match, we went strong in this competition against Birmingham and that was the right thing to do.

'We’ll see how the selection goes against QPR.’